AT&T has announced a partnership today with three different payment providers, allowing their wireless subscribers to pay for online purchases with their cell phone. They have partnered with BilltoMobile, Boku and Zong to process the payments for various websites and digital goods.
Each of the payment providers will allow users to charge items to their cell phone bill when they purchase goods from supported retailers. AT&T partnered with the three payment processors because each of them has their own list of supported retailers. The concept is fairly new, so the current list is not very large.
Jim Greenwell, CEO of BilltoMobile, said,
This form of billing is the logical next step in the e-commerce mobile payments landscape that BilltoMobile and our strategic investor, Danal Co., Ltd, have pioneered for the past several years.
One of the reasons mobile payment options have been slow to gain momentum is because carriers were charging a 40% fee on each purchase, but according to InformationWeek, AT&T has lowered its fees for the payment processors. However, the exact amount is unknown, as the details of the agreement have not been disclosed. Zong CEO David Marcus said in a statment:
This agreement is a great step in bringing more convenience with a new online purchase experience to AT&T's wireless customers. Our strengths, combined with AT&T's, can help make mobile payments more efficient, affordable, robust, and more economical for customers and merchants alike.
Juniper Research believes that mobile payments are going to reach $200 billion by 2012.